It sounded more philosophical when Descartes said in the 17th century, “I think therefore I am”. Today, as humans we are at the verge of building thinking algorithms that incorporate the past, present and future and come up with the right decisions.
One of the areas that insurers in all lines of business around the world grapple with today is the dichotomy between the agent population that is retiring and the one that is joining the workforce. While the industry acknowledges the reality and customers are prepared to meet their digital savvy agents virtually, the insurer’s landscape is going through phenomenal changes to digitize without alienating traditional agents. As this journey progresses, there is a plethora of advances in technology that exposes location, behaviors and preferences of consumers. As the evolution of the insurance industry continues, businesses must utilize these technological advancements to create a digital experience. This digital experience should consist of:
- Omni-channel communication: To empower agents to communicate with customers across all channels (email, text, chat, social media, phone, and call center).
- Content management: Making it easy to store and access electronic documents and information in a way that streamlines information workflows.
- Workflow routing: To execute new policies, expedite payment processes, and facilitate customer service requests.
- Collaboration: Instant messaging, online presentations and video/audio conferencing to help agents bring experts and customers together, and to accelerate the decision making process.
- A single view of the customer: With immediate access to real-time information on all current policies and all communications that have occurred — relating to each customer and their families.
- Geo location analysis: To determine the physical location of customers and to identify candidates for possible face-to-face meetings and then to plan how their location impacts their insurance coverage; also provides managers with locations of agents to strategically match agents with nearby prospects.
- Social media integration: To tap into the latest consumer trends and enable instant communication.
- Mobile enablement: To give agents immediate access to product information and forms —from anywhere at any time.
- Cloud based: For fast initial rollouts to agents and quick updates to products, forms and functions.
- Analytics: To help agents match the right insurance product to each customer and to help managers match the right agent to each prospect based on shared demographics.
These features should get sequenced according to the insurers’ current environment, customer and agent demographics and business priorities. With predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, neural networks and IoT becoming a reality, these features will help agencies leverage these advances cohesively. The underlying element of these solutions relies on historical data, current business and future scenarios through statistical modeling to intelligently explore alternatives. These alternatives go through learning algorithms that guide the business on the best decisions to make. The expert knowledge is then simulated through these learning algorithms and expert systems, enabling thinking algorithms to become the insurance agents of the future.